Top Indian Brands Show Resilience Recording Brand Value Growth in 2020 Despite Lockdown
The total value of India’s top 100 brands has increased by 2%, from US$162.1 billion in 2020 to US$164.9 billion in 2021, according to the latest Brand Finance India 100 2021 report. This uplift in brand value over the course of the first year of the pandemic is an impressive feat given the global economic crisis following the implementation of national lockdowns in March 2020, when business activity was brought to a halt, affecting both production and consumption. The current national health emergency is trying India once again and the country’s top brands will be essential to help the economy rebound.
The COVID-19 pandemic has tested the resolve of the best Indian brands. Sectors including IT, healthcare, utilities, chemicals, edutech, banking, and construction have proved their efficiency in supporting the national economy. This, paired with the government and the Reserve Bank of India monetary and fiscal policy measures, has helped support vulnerable firms and households, expand service delivery, cushion the impact of the crisis over the course of last year, and establish a benchmark for this year’s response.
Ajimon Francis, Managing Director, Brand Finance India, commented:
“Despite being one of the worst hit nations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian brands have shown remarkable resilience to the challenges that have ensued since the first lockdown in March 2020. Over the past year, the nation’s top 100 most valuable brands have recorded a 2% uplift in total brand value, showcasing their strength. Yet the current national health emergency presents an even greater challenge than last year’s lockdown. In these trying times for all of India, brands will need to play their part in supporting recovery.”
TATA Group in league of its own
TATA Group has retained the title of India’s most valuable brand by a considerable lead with a brand value of US$21.3 billion. Operating in more than 100 countries across six continents and employing over three-quarters of a million people, TATA Group is a force to be reckoned with on the global stage. With 30 companies under the TATA Group umbrella, ranging from Tata Steel and Tata Motors to TCS and Tata Consumer Products, the brand has managed to protect itself from COVID-19 damage – this year recording a 6% uplift in brand value.
There are eight further conglomerate brands in the Brand Finance India 100 2021 ranking, which account for over a quarter of the total brand value, making it the most valuable brand category in India. Reliance Industries (up 9% to US$8.1 billion) and Mahindra Group (down 6% to US$5.4 billion) sit in 4th and 9th place, respectively.
Banking second most valuable
Sitting behind conglomerates, banking is the nation’s second most valuable sector, with its 16 brands accounting for 16% of the total brand value in the ranking. Indian banks have bucked the global sector trend, recording a cumulative brand value growth of 8% year-on-year.
HDFC Bank has become India’s most valuable banking brand, up 11% to US$6.6 billion and claiming 5th spot in the ranking, ahead of last year’s most valuable Indian banking brand State Bank of India (down 9% to US$5.8 billion) which sits in 7th.
ICICI claimed the spot of India’s third most valuable banking brand, brand value up 23% to US$3.5 billion. This success follows moves in 2018 to pursue more innovative banking solutions, with a focus on digital and technology driven processes.
The Union Bank of India saw the fastest year-on-year brand value increase in the ranking, growing by 163% to US$1.2 billion and simultaneously soaring 39 places to claim 31st spot.
The amalgamation between Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank is primarily responsible for this growth - borne as part of a nationwide effort to consolidate India’s banking space. This success is also mirrored at the national level.
IT services completes podium
The third most valuable sector in India is IT services. Behind TCS (up 11% to US$14.9 billion) which contributes a significant proportion of TATA Group’s conglomerate brand value, Infosys is the highest ranked standalone IT services brand and 3rd in the overall Brand Finance India 100 2021 ranking, jumping up one place from last year following a solid 19% brand value growth to US$8.4 billion. Even before the pandemic, Infosys’s leadership recognised the importance of focusing on its service offering, including data security and cloud services. This focus, paired with key acquisitions to bolster the brand’s end-to-end customer experience offerings, has propelled Infosys to a position where it consistently wins larger transformation, consulting, data management, and cloud service projects.
LTI is the fastest-growing IT services brand this year not just in India but also globally, recording an impressive 68% brand value growth to US$982 million. For the last five years, LTI has consistently delivered double digit growth year-on-year and shows no signs of slowing down. As a young brand, it is rising quickly within a highly competitive space, and is fast becoming one of the most exciting challenger brands within the sector.
Fellow IT services brands HCL (up 13% to US$5.5 billion), Tech Mahindra (up 11% to US$2.3 billion – included in Mahindra Group’s conglomerate brand value), and Mphasis (up 13% to US$536 million), have all recorded healthy uplifts in brand value this year. Tech Mahindra continues to work towards accelerated growth through building on its healthy pipeline deals and embracing new 5G opportunities. Another IT major, Wipro (down 1% to US$4.3 billion), has dropped one rank, but remains a formidable player in the IT services space.
A notable challenger brand in the market, Hexaware has swiftly risen through the ranks, moving 10 spots up since last year. Hexaware has also improved its brand strength rating this year to AA-, having scored particularly well on employee and on CSR-related brand equity metrics, such as community and environment. The long-term building of brand equity coupled with technical expertise in automation, innovation, and digital transformation can help Hexaware grow customer preference and successfully compete with the industry's incumbents, ultimately resulting in increased brand value.
Jio rings in as nation’s strongest brand
In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. According to these criteria, Jio has claimed the title of India’s strongest brand as well as the world’s strongest telecom brand, according to the Brand Finance Telecoms 150 2021 report, with a Brand Strength Index score of 91.7 out of 100 and the elite AAA+ brand strength rating.
Despite only being founded in 2016, Jio has quickly become the largest mobile network operator in India and the third largest mobile network operator in the world, with almost 400 million subscribers. Renowned for its incredibly affordable plans, Jio took India by storm, offering 4G to millions of users for free and simultaneously transforming how Indians consume the internet – known as the ‘Jio effect’. As brand strength is one of the key drivers of brand value, this year, Jio also counts among the top 10 most valuable brands in India for the first time.
Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance, commented:
“The dominance of the Jio brand across the nation is evident from the results of Brand Finance’s original market research. Jio scores highest in all metrics – consideration, conversion, reputation, recommendation, word of mouth, innovation, customer service, and value for money - compared to its telecom competitors in India. The brand has no major weaknesses within the sector, and unlike many telecom brands globally, Jio has shown that it has broken the mould, and enjoys genuine affection from consumers.”